Saturday, August 27, 2011

Senator Klein Secures, Delivers, Supplies In Preparation for Hurricane Irene


 The supplies, which included sandbags to help hold back potential flood waters, as well as sleeping bags and water, were donated by Bronx and Westchester businesses. In preparation for Hurricane Irene, State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), secured and today delivered much needed supplies to vulnerable communities and organizations throughout his district.
These supplies will help our communities and our first responders weather this storm and protect our friends and neighbors,” Senator Klein said. “I thank the businesses who have generously donated these much-needed supplies that will help prepare us for Hurricane Irene.”
Among the donated items:
  • 75 sandbags from Van Nest Hardware and the Home Depot;
  • 21 sleeping bags from Modell's Sporting Goods and Eastern Mountain Sports;
  • 30 one-gallon jugs of water from the Home Depot.
Senator Klein and his staff delivered the supplies to:
  • Providence Rest, a 200-bed senior care and rehabilitation facility in Country Club;
  • Pilot Cove, a senior facility in City Island;
  • The Pelham Manor Fire Dept. in Pelham, Westchester County;
  • The Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department;
  • The Silver Beach Co-Operative in Throggs Neck;
  • The Jeanne Jugan Residence in Throggs Neck;
  • The Schuyler Hill Civic Association.
     Senator Jeff Klein is second from left with helpers and a sandbag to be placed behind them to secure the area before Hurricane Irene hits.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Klein Praises EPA Decision to Drop Costly & Unnecessary Reservoir Project

Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx-Westchester), hailed the federal Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to drop its mandate that a $1.6 billion cement dome be constructed over the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers.

In dropping the mandate for the dome's, the EPA said the situation is now under review. Senator Klein is opposed this rate-payer funded project, which, in an Aug. 19 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, he called costly and redundant.

This is a victory for New York City ratepayers, Yonkers residents, and for common sense,” Senator Klein said. “This project cost too much and would have placed even more strain on residents who have already had to deal with skyrocketing water bills. I look forward to working with Senator Schumer and our other federal and local representatives to find a new solution that addresses everyone's concerns.”

The project would have increased water bills by an estimated 3 percent. Senator Klein also said that the justification for the project is questionable.

The EPA had sought to build the dome over the 90-acre reservoir in order to stop pathogens from entering the water system, which serves more than 9 million residents daily. The agency pointed to data showing some 3,500 cases of cryptosporidiosis, a microbe that generally causes mild stomach pain, but can be life threatening to people with compromised immune systems.

However, the city's Department of Environmental Conservation recently released a report finding an average of only 100 cases of cryptosporidiosis per year – most of which are not related to drinking water.
The city is also in the process of building the Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Distinction Facility in Westchester County. This facility will use ultraviolet light to purify water, killing pathogens that cause cryptosporidiosis and other illnesses. This project makes the concrete dome redundant. 

Espada Wins Court Decision to Keep Medicaid Eligibility

Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. won a major round this afternoon in his effort to maintain Medicaid eligibility for the Soundview Health Care network.

A judge in State Supreme Court sided with Espada's attorney's who argued that the denial of Medicaid coverage was unfair and unconstitutional. Espada had said that former Attorney General and now Governor Andrew Cuomo had a vendetta out for him, and the poor people that patronize Soundview would be hurt if it lost its medicaid eligibility.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Councilman Koppell Calls Handling of Disclosure of Toxic Chemical at Bronx New School Egregious 
Requests Expeditious Response to Parent Concerns 
Demands Inspection of Other DOE Leased Space In District

In a letter to Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Council Member Oliver Koppell called the way in which the Department of Education handled the disclosure of the dangerous levels of trichloroethylene at the Bronx New School (PS 51) egregious and totally unacceptable. “The sixth month delay in informing parents of the hazardous level of the toxic chemical in the school, has created anger and distrust among the parents about the integrity and transparency of the DOE, as well as concerns about their children’s health,” he said.  
 Koppell urged the Chancellor to respond expeditiously to the parents’ medical concerns and issues with respect to the school’s relocation, including reassurance about the new school’s environmental safety.  Koppell also said the DOE must take steps to help safeguard the health of those who may have been exposed to TCE.  He advocated instituting a number of steps including making a list of past and present students and providing them with up-to-date information on a regular basis about new developments concerning the health effects of exposure to trichloroethylene, as well as providing medical screening and surveillance for those exposed to the chemical, as deemed appropriate by environmental and occupational health professionals.
 Koppell stressed that parents must be given clear and specific information about bus schedules and routes, and a streamlined process for those who wish to transfer to another school.   
   Calls for Testing Other DOE Leased Space in District
 Koppell called for immediate testing for TCE prior to the opening of school at two other schools in his district, the Bronx Dance Academy and the High School of American Studies, which are located in leased space and have not undergone environmental  testing.  He requested that the test results be shared with the parents.
Koppell concluded by calling on the Chancellor to, “revise the DOE’s environmental testing policy for leased space in order to prevent students and teachers from being exposed to the same dangerous environmental conditions as were found at the Bronx New School.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011



Request for Proposals Issued for the Approximately 80,000-Square-Foot Site As Part of City Effort To Strengthen Existing Retail Corridor and Catalyze Job Creation and Economic Development in the Bronx

New York City, August 24, 2011 – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced that it is seeking a developer for the purchase and redevelopment of an approximately 80,000-square-foot site in the Kingsbridge/Riverdale section of the Bronx The City-owned site which is centrally located on 230th Street between Broadway and the Major Deegan Expressway, is one of the last significantly-sized, primarily vacant and developable sites along the Broadway retail corridor, and its development will further the City’s goals of economic investment and job creation in the Bronx and across the City.

“The Broadway Plaza site possesses enormous potential for developers and its redevelopment will provide a major economic boost to an already thriving retail and commercial corridor,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky.  “We are confident that the site will attract significant private sector interest, thereby creating good jobs and strengthening the economic future of the Bronx.”

“This site has great potential, and its development will give a major boost to not only Kingsbridge, but to the neighboring communities of Riverdale and Marble Hill as well as the entire Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation for moving so quickly to issue this new RFP, and look forward to the positive redevelopment of this property.”

“I am looking forward to the further revitalization of West 230th Street and the employment opportunities that would benefit the community,” said Councilmember Oliver Koppell.

"For many years I have advocated for commercial development at this site,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. “West 230th Street and Broadway is centrally located in Kingsbridge and will draw shoppers from Marble Hill, Riverdale, Kingsbridge Heights, and beyond. I am confident that development at this location will be a major shot in the arm for the entire community."

“The Broadway Plaza project lies on a vital commercial corridor in Community Board 8 and is a prime spot for new retail development,” said Community board 8 Chair Robert Fanuzzi. “We look forward to working with EDC to bring the very best retailers to our community.”

The Broadway Plaza site is located one block from the 231st Street stop on the 1 train, near numerous bus lines, and immediately off the 231st street exit on the Major Deegan Expressway, making it easily accessible to residents of the Kingsbridge/Riverdale neighborhoods, as well as those in surrounding areas. Broadway, to the north and south of the site, already has a variety of retail uses, including restaurants, major grocery stores and national clothing stores, as well as with a mixture of smaller stores and service providers. A 5 acre parcel on Broadway between 237th and 238th Streets was recently sold, from Brynwood Partners to a venture between Metropolitan Realty Associates and Angelo, Gordon & Co., and plans are currently underway for an approximately 162,000 square foot shopping center that is anticipated to include BJ’s Wholesale Club as the anchor tenant. The area has also attracted new residential developments such as the Sycamore Court Apartments, a 12-story ground-up condo development on Corlear Avenue and 231st Street, three blocks away from the sites.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) is designed to achieve number of goals to advance the City’s economic development strategy for the borough and across the City.  Goals include: generating a development that complements and enhances local neighborhood businesses; creating a financially feasible and economically viable project; generating tax revenue for the City through the sale of the property; and expanding and preserving quality jobs for local residents through participation in HireNYC, a free program that connects the City's workforce development services to economic development projects, and maximizes permanent employment opportunities for the City’s local and disadvantaged residents.

Projects that aim to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating of at least Silver will also be prioritized. LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), promotes sustainable building and development practices through a rating system that recognizes projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.

To obtain a copy of the complete RFP, visit  Responses are due by October 24, 2011 at 4 p.m.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

800 Non Teaching Positions to be Cut by DOE at School Level

  It is reported that 800 positions such as parent coordinators, school aides, and other non teaching staff positions will be cut from the DOE at the school level. 700 of the 800 positions will come from DC  37 school staff. The other 100 will probably come from the DOE headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse. 

  DC 37 head Lillian Roberts said that she has not received any notice of the cuts, and hopes that not one of her union's school staffers will be let go. It was DC 37 in the last mayors race that endorsed Mayor Bloombergs opponent former Comptroller Bill Thompson.


Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz announced that his office will conduct the borough’s first-ever “well-being and quality of life” survey, which will measure the opinions of Bronx residents and those who work in the Bronx on a variety of issues that impact their communities.

The survey, which will be conducted online, asks respondents to rate their communities in a number of areas, from crime and education to fresh food availability and civic activity. The survey will remain open until October 31, 2011. Following the completion of the survey, one individual will be chosen at random to have brunch with Borough President Diaz.

“It is important that Bronxites participate in this survey and let my office hear from them on the specific issues that face our neighborhoods. We are ‘One Bronx,’ and this survey will help us discover what problems are shared by different neighborhoods, so that we may develop common solutions to them. The goal of this survey is to build upon newly-released Census data to perform a comprehensive, inclusive, and thorough assessment of where we are as a borough and where we want to go. I hope that as many Bronxites as possible will take a few minutes to fill out this survey and join us in that effort,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The results of this survey will be compiled by the borough president’s office, and a report based on its outcome will be issued by the office at a later date.

The survey is available at the following link:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks East Coast

   An earthquake centered in Virginia was felt all along the east coast from Rhode Island to Atlanta Georgia. The quake measured 5.9 on the Richter Scale was the largest one to hit the east coast (which is not know for its earthquakes) in almost one hundred years. There was slight damage as you got further away from the epicenter, with buildings being evacuated here in New York City. Most damage was done to single family homes in Virginia, and there was minor damage to buildings in Washington D.C. 

   After schocks are expected, and there was no warnings of any possible tsunami. This all comes before this weekends category 3 "Hurricane Irene" expected to make landfall somewhere on the east coast.

Letter to Chancellor Walcott From BP Diaz Re: P.S. 51 Contamination

Dennis Walcott
Department of Education
Tweed Courthouse
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

RE: P.S. 51 TCE Contaminations and Relocation

Dear Chancellor Walcott:

Thank you for sending representatives from the School Construction Authority, Department of Health, and Department of Education to meet with my staff on August 14, 2011, and discuss the Bronx New School – P.S. 51 TCE findings. We appreciate their efforts to make the best of what has been a difficult situation for all involved.  To that end, we are less than three weeks from the start of the new school year and the Department of Education has yet to publish the TCE test reports, sign the lease on the alternate facility, disseminate the new school location to all parents or announce new bus routes and pick-up schedules. In addition, the DOE has not set a date for the school open house, which my office requested at the August 14, 2011, and was publicly promised at the parents meeting on August 18, 2011, nor has the DOE provided a streamlined process for parents who wish to transfer to their zoned school. 

I applaud your leadership in enhancing the protocols for environmental review of city leased properties which identified the TCE.  However, we still have significant work ahead, the source of the TCE contamination at 3200 Jerome Avenue has yet to be identified. Consequently, we have no way of knowing when the contamination started, nor whether there were conditions that may have caused fluctuations in the level of TCE exposure.  Without that information, we cannot properly assess the health risks to students, teachers, administrators and other staff over the last 20 years in which the building had been in operation as a public school facility. 

Moreover, while the DOE has communicated its willingness and desire to help the parents through this transition, it has not articulated any deadlines or dates as to when these deliverables will be received.  I respectfully request the DOE execute on the following promises no later than August 26, 2011:

  • Publish on your website the list and schedule of bus routes that have been drawn.
·         Release copies of all environmental testing, reports and data from both P.S. 51 and the new facility at St. Martin of Tours, located at 695 East182nd St, Bronx, NY 10457.
·         Release an inventory of the light fixtures at both the new and old facility verifying they have been tested and are free of PCBs.
·         Schedule a date for the open house at the new school facility.
  • Schedule dates for separate meetings with Department of Health and State Department of Health to discuss the health concerns of both parents and staff members.
  • Announce a plan for how parents will be notified of the open house and bus routes.  Mailing a letter by itself will not be sufficient, parents should receive follow up communications via email and phone to confirm they received the information and answer any questions.
  • Schedule direct enrollment sessions for parent seeking information on transfer opportunities and other logistical and operational questions in regards to the start of the school year.

Lastly, our office is actively working to disseminate information on this issue to parents and impacted residents as it is released. We are fully prepared to assist in helping families through this transition and I ask that you keep my staff fully informed of developments in a timely fashion. Should you have questions or issues of concern, please feel free to contact Ray Sanchez, Director of Policy for my office, at 718-590-2645 or

Ruben Diaz Jr.
Bronx Borough President

Monday, August 22, 2011



“It saddens me that, once again, an act of random violence has struck down one of our own. Yaritza Pacheco was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for that she has needlessly lost her life and a child has lost a mother. Ms. Pacheco’s senseless death illustrates why we cannot and will not tolerate illegal guns on our streets. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Bronx go out to her family in their time of mourning,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

You can read The Daily News Story here.


Mayor Bloomberg Wants a Red Light Camera on Every Corner

  "I think we should have them on every corner if we could" of those red light cameras that catch motorist who go through red lights. The mayor believes that lives could be saved and the city should be able to have many more red light cameras.Currently there are 150 red light cameras in New York City and the proposal is to go to 225. The bill has passed in the State Senate, but is in the black hole in the State Assembly. Mayor Bloomberg would also like to publish the names of the offenders, but the ticket for a red light camera goes to the owner of the vehicle not the driver. 

  This brings into the city coffers over 52 million dollars in revenue, and even more when the penalties are added in for those who do not pay on time.